Phillip Stearns , A Chandelier For One of Many Possible Endings, 2014; Custom Electronics, florescent bulbs, variable; Courtesy of the artist
Phillip Stearns: A Chandelier for One of Many Possible Ends
On View Friday, December 12, 2014–Sunday, March 29, 2015
The Chandelier for One of Many Possible Ends is composed of groupings of 92 individual light elements, each representing the electrons in a Uranium atom. The light elements are grouped and arranged in part by their orbital position. Each light is connected to an individual Geiger counter. Light is then emitted in a brief flash when a radioactive event is detected from cosmic radiation in our environment. The detection of radiation causes flickering in the lights of the chandelier. Thus, the greater the flickering, the greater the amount of radioactivity in the environment. A source of radioactivity strong enough to cause the installation to remain solidly lit would be fatal to any living organism in the room, as in the case of a nuclear catastrophe.
This installation was inspired by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant on March 11, 2011, when the plant was hit by tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake. As a result, in a meltdown occurred in three of the plant's six nuclear reactors releasing substantial amounts of radioactive material. It is the largest nuclear incident since the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986.
Stearns work quietly, subtly, engages the memory of nuclear catastrophe, while maintaining a haunting, even contemplative, environment.